Companion to Empire: A Genealogy of the Written Word in by David Rojinsky

By David Rojinsky

This quantity strains a family tree of the various conceptions and services of alphabetic writing in Hispanic cultures of the pre-modern and early colonial sessions. The old junctures chosen are these at which the written observe (in grammatical, old and criminal discourse) assumed elevated ideological significance for bolstering other kinds of 'imperial' strength. In impression, Companion to Empire posits a constellation of old situations, instead of a novel legendary foundation within which the alliance among writing and imperium can be discerned. The corpus of basic texts thought of within the quantity derives from works by means of foundational figures within the historical past of pre-modern language theories (Isidore of Seville, Alfonso X the clever, Antonio de Nebrija) and from these pointed out with the early transatlantic enlargement of alphabetic writing (Peter Martyr D'Anghiera, Bernardino de Sahagún, Nuño Beltrán de Guzmán). by way of examining those canonical texts opposed to the grain, the writer avoids the totalizing gesture of histories of the language, and as a substitute focuses upon the connection among status written languages, the production of a 'literate mentality' and the necessity to consolidate imperium on each side of the Atlantic. Companion to Empire will therefore be of curiosity to these adopting a 'post-philological' method of Hispanic stories, in addition to these attracted to medieval and transatlantic imperium stories.

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Extra info for Companion to Empire: A Genealogy of the Written Word in Spain and New Spain, c.550 - 1550. (Foro Hispanico)

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It was this system that the young Augustine, Cassiodorus and future Pope Gregory I, like generations of Romans before them, were trained to exploit for their own advancement. The social and political function of grammatica remained a constant: throughout the Middle Ages, generations of monks and clerics could depend on expertise in grammatica for advancement through the ranks of civil and ecclesiastical authority. Only those trained in grammatica were empowered with the specialized literacy and textual competence that marked the litteratus in the Roman Empire, in short, that gave one access to textual power.

3. 2). Yates (1966), Colish (1969), Vance (1986), and Carruthers (1992) have observed that the medieval privileging of the faculty of memory is in part attributable to Augustinian Neo-Platonism and the conception of all understanding as a form of recollection. Intelligible objects of knowledge are spiritual entities in that they exist immutably Generating the Origins of Letters and Kingdoms 41 and eternally within the mind of God, and hence, by extension, always already existed; but they can only be grasped (recalled) by human beings through divine illumination which is facilitated by the tripartite action of the memory, intellect and will (Vance 1986: 52).

While we can therefore identify a parallel between the univ-ersalizing structure of the Etymologiae and the desired cohesiveness of a unified Hispania which can boast a recuperated classical culture, we should also reiterate the methodological parallel between the history of individual words and history in general: the search for historical origins or unchanging essences to be recovered by the inscription of the past characterizes historiography in the same way that it characterizes the etymologizing of words.

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